The Good Fight has built TV’s best roster of memorable, smart and often oddball recurring guest characters who make the screen come alive whenever they appear. So many of these characters originated with the show’s predecessor The Good Wife, but the spin-off has marvellously kept them around – even if they only appear just once or twice a season.
Of all the characters that haven’t yet made an appearance on the new show, the one that fans are desperate to see is Louis Canning – the roguish lawyer played by Back To The Future and Family Ties star Michael J. Fox.
Good news: The wait is over – Louis Canning will appear this year and it’s sure to rock the show in all the best ways (for us the viewers… almost certainly not for the characters).
Know this about Louis Canning: he’s the WORST (but also, the best)
The number one thing to remember about Louis Canning is that he is always a complete and utter bastard. He may play it nice, as though he’s on your side. But every move he makes is always in service of his own objectives.
Canning has dyskinesia, a condition which prevents him from being able to voluntarily control his body movements. As a lawyer, Canning is often seen telling jurors about his condition and using it to engender sympathy from them… which he then exploits.
For Michael J. Fox, playing Canning was an opportunity to prove that people with a disability can be just as terrible as everyone else. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter he explained:
“It’s funny because whenever a show or any representation of characters with disabilities on television tend to be sentimental, with soft piano music playing in the background, and I wanted to prove that disabled people can be assholes, too. And you want to feel sorry for him, but he’s such a dick, whether intentionally or not. I think he’s pure-hearted, I think he just wants to win, and whatever may be seen as a deficit, he’ll turn into an asset in order to prevail.”
What actually is dyskinesia?
It is a condition that varies in severity depending on the person. It can involve a body part (like an arm or leg) or the entire body moving involuntarily. It can look like a person is fidgeting, writhing about or bobbing their head (among other body movements). While it can be a stand-alone condition, it is often associated with patients who have experienced brain injury, taken antipsychotic medications or used levodopa long term (levodopa is a drug widely used to treat Parkinson’s).
The idea to give Canning dyskinesia came from Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991.
Fox said: “I think it kind of blew people away on the set that I would be so open with it, but I just knew this was a perfect opportunity to funnel a lot of my life experience into a character and be coy with it and kind of let it out in dribs and drabs and see if I can make it an effective tool for him to do his job, as opposed to something that prevented him from doing his job.”
Louis Canning practically invented ‘fake news’
One of the great things about the character is that we don’t really know much about him. He’s ruthless and has dyskinesia, but everything else beyond that always seems subject to the situation. What is the truth always remains a question with Canning.
In the 21 appearances he made throughout The Good Wife, we came to learn that he has a wife named Simone and he has children. It was revealed he had kidney failure, but was later on the road to recovery after receiving a donation. Oh, and he might be Jewish – we saw him wear a yarmulke at a funeral once. But, knowing Canning, we can’t be entirely sure that means anything.
Get down in the muck and prepare for a wrestle with Michael J. Fox as Louis Canning in The Good Fight.
Season 4 of The Good Fight premieres exclusively on SBS, airing weekly at 9.30pm from Wednesday 23 September. Episodes will be available at SBS On Demand after they go to air. Here is episode 1:
Fiona gives us the highlights of this year’s curfewed Melbourne International Film Festival - MIFF 68 1/2 - and talks with Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn, the creators of the real life drama 'The Salisbury Poisonings', we talk Netflix's 'Indian Matchmaking' and click play on 'Guerrilla' and 'Burning' on SBS On Demand.